9 answers

What advice would you give anyone going into law?

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100% of 7 Pros

9 answers

Richard’s Answer

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I'm not sure your stage of education at this point, but I would say: choose an undergraduate degree or minor with some writing. My wife is a lawyer, and she chose History because 1) she enjoyed it and 2) it would give her practice writing to prep for law school. Once in law school, try to spend your summers at internships in areas where you might be interested. There are many kinds of law, and the options are endless. Find an area you are actually interested in pursuing based on whether you want more speaking (litigation) or more writing (like briefs). Court trials are rare these days because of mediation, but there are still some areas involving public speaking than others. Be prepared to study hard. Mastering new legal concepts and laws isn't easy.
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Fiona’s Answer

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Firstly, there are many many different areas of law and they are vastly different. When you begin your degree, try to seize every opportunity to try out different areas of law - for example, you can apply to different internships with law firms (international firms will normally specialise in corporate / finance matters, whilst smaller firms may specialise in commercial / family / property matters), try out mini-pupillages with barrister chambers (I am not sure if the system applies where you are, but common law system will distinguish between solicitors and barristers). I started off thinking I would be suited for litigious work, but after one summer at barrister chambers, I discovered it is definitely not something I am suited to. I then applied for international firms and discovered that Banking and Finance is my area. Transactional work is very different to litigious work generally.

When I was a law student, I did two years worth of extra curricular pro bono work at a local advice clinic to obtain experience. You will find that these activities will be very helpful to you for securing internships at firms later on and the experience will also be very valuable.

Much of what you learn at law school may not be very relevant when you begin working - I studied my degree in a New Zealand but moved to Hong Kong for my career . The legislation I studied is obviously different but I didn't find this to be an issue given they are both common law jurisdictions. What is valuable from law school is that it trains you to think in a very methodical and logical manner.

Lastly, be prepared to work hard. For the first six years of my career I was hardly ever home before mid night. It is tough because the learning curve in many areas is often very steep. But it does get much better after that and it is simply a stage that most lawyers have to go through.
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Aram’s Answer

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If you still haven't chosen an undergraduate major, pick something that you love and do you best to excel at it, I don't think there is any benefit to studying "pre-law" or business just because you think it will help in your law studies. When you are picking a school, especially if you are not going to a highly ranked school, pick a school near where you would like to practice law once you graduate. This will help you have a good career network and will get you ready for the right bar exam. Once you are in law school, Destiny is right, be prepared every day, and try to find a good study group, remember in law school, there is only one exam to determine your entire grade for each class, so a good study team will be a huge help since you can combine your notes and quiz each other. With respect to your future, try to work in a law office, public interest job or government law related job before law school. It will help you narrow your interest a bit and will help you with your application and with future summer positions during law school. Lastly, make sure you are interested for the right reasons. If there is an issue that inspires you, a cause that you want to work for or a type of law that really interests you those are good reasons. The attorneys that I know that chose law because they wanted a high paying job are all very unhappy and wish they had chosen something else. The career can be extremely rewarding, so if you're truly inspired, go for it!
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Fiona’s Answer

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There are many many different areas of law and they are vastly different. When you begin your degree, try to seize every opportunity to try out different areas of law - for example, you can apply to different internships with law firms (international firms will normally specialise in corporate / finance matters, whilst smaller firms may specialise in commercial / family / property matters), try out mini-pupillages with barrister chambers (I am not sure if the system applies where you are, but common law system will distinguish between solicitors and barristers). I started off thinking I would be suited for litigious work, but after one summer at barrister chambers, I discovered it is definitely not something I am suited to. I then applied for international firms and discovered that Banking and Finance is my area. Transactional work is very different to litigious work generally.

Be prepared to work hard. For the first six years of my career I was hardly ever home before mid night. It is tough because the learning curve in many areas is often very steep. But it does get much better after that and it is simply a stage that most lawyers have to go through. As a banking and finance lawyer, the learning curve was extremely steep and for me, this was highly rewarding.
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charnita’s Answer

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Before you make the biggest decision of you life about your law career. Make sure you figure out if this is really you big thing as far a passion. Think if this profession really for me, am I a people person, do I have a win or lose personality, am I quick to give up. These are the questions I asked myself moving down my path of life. Make sure what ever field of law you go into it makes you happy. You have to fight for those around you and believe in the power of your own decisions.
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Destiny’s Answer

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1. Be prepared to commit much time to studying. 2. Always be prepared in class to answer any questions from the homework you were given. 3. Be comfortable with public speaking
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Chase’s Answer

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1. Always be prepared (whether in law school or in actual practice). 2. Use your time in law school wisely to do externships and internships to figure out which area of law you would like to practice. 3. Develop good communication and writing skills.
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charnita’s Answer

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Before you make the biggest decision of you life about your law career. Make sure you figure out if this is really you big thing as far a passion. Think if this profession really for me, am I a people person, do I have a win or lose personality, am I quick to give up. These are the questions I asked myself moving down my path of life. Make sure what ever field of law you go into it makes you happy. You have to fight for those around you and believe in the power of your own decisions.
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John A.’s Answer

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Figure out what type of lawyer you want to be. What is your career path?
Are you planning to find a large firm and just bill for time for the rest of your life or...do you want to break out on your own? How about non-profit?
If you get good grades, I'm sure you'll have your pick upon entering the workforce.
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